With a backlog of goalies in their system, the Philadelphia Flyers have taken their first step to pare down that number as The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell reports that the Flyers will not be offering goaltender Petr Mrazek a qualifying offer tomorrow, which will make him an unrestricted free agent.
Mrazek, who was finishing up a two-year bridge deal worth $8MM total at an AAV of $4MM could generate some interest as a backup in the league at a much cheaper pricetag. Despite recent struggles, the goaltender was at one time considered to be a front-line goalie.
The 26-year-old netminder was acquired at the trade deadline for a third-round pick in the 2018 draft, but wasn’t of much help to the Flyers as inconsistency plagued him there as well as in Detroit. Once considered to be the heir-apparent in Detroit, Mrazek took over the starting reigns in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, but lost his job to veteran Jimmy Howard by the end of that year. He was exposed in the expansion draft last year with many believing that the Vegas Golden Knights might select him, but they passed. As Howard’s backup this year, Mrazek had some great moments, but had just as many, if not more, terrible games. He posted just eight wins in 22 games with a 2.89 GAA and a .910 save percentage before being traded. In Philadelphia, he was given a new chance as the team was dealing with injuries to both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth, but Mrazek struggled immensely. In 17 games he had a 3.22 GAA and a .891 save percentage.
The Flyers have both Elliott and Neuvirth locked up for one more season, making Mrazek expendable. While the team could attempt to qualify him and hope to pass him through waivers to play in the AHL as emergency insurance, the team will have star goaltending prospect Carter Hart expected to make his pro debut in the AHL, so they don’t want a veteran goalie taking valuable playing time away from Hart. On top of that, the team also has restricted free agents Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz on their roster, so moving on from Mrazek might be the best thing.
Philadelphia also saves itself a third-round pick in the 2019 draft by not signing Mrazek. The trade deadline deal had a conditional third-round pick for next season if the team signed him.